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Richard Chapko

Richard Chapko, of St. Johns, will be able to enjoy an upcoming birthday, time with his family, working on his classic car and anything else he feels like doing since having open-heart surgery in October 2010. "Now, I don't hesitate to do things. If I want to do something, I just do it," Chapko said, adding he is more active these days.

After experiencing shoulder pain, testing revealed heart blockage in Chapko's heart. "I had a stress test on a Monday. The next day, I was in the doctor's office. And, Friday morning I was in surgery. Thursday night was the worst day of my life, because I didn't know what the outcome was going to be. I had two grandsons at the hospital, and I looked over at them, wondering if I was ever going to see them again," he said.

Chapko’s heart was already in good condition, according to his doctor, Matthew Wilcox, DO. So, Sparrow was able to correct his heart problem easily in surgery. At Sparrow, you’ll find ground-breaking research and technology to find new and better ways to treat heart disease. “If I had to do it again, I would do it. The scary part of heart surgery is now gone,” he said.

Chapko noted what really stood out for him was how well he was treated by Wilcox. “He talked to me like he was my son. He was very informative, very good,” he said. Sparrow’s leading heart team understands the importance of involving patients in their care. And, they work closely with patients after they leave. “My recovery went by fast. I was walking about a mile a day three weeks after my surgery,” he said.

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